London placed in Tier 3 Restriction

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

A response sent to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London in relation to his statement and letter from City Hall and the London Councils to Prime Minister Boris Johnson dated 13 December on London being placed in Tier 3.

As an iconic London venue and a catalyst for the night time industry in London, it is indeed deeply disappointing that hospitality has once again been targeted with a discriminatory strategy by the Government.

We have now entered week 40 since the Prime Minister made his first statement to the British public on 16 March 2020 where the hospitality industry has endured 16 weeks of initial lockdown until 4 July, curfew enforcement from 24 September to 4 December, lockdown two from 4 November to 2 December and now Tier 3 during what should be the busiest trading period of the year.

The Government’s handling of Covid from the outset has been catastrophic, the stop start knee jerk reaction, not taking scientific advice from the SAGE group, Matt Hancock standing in the House of Commons saying the scientists are there to provide advice and that ministers make the decisions. The Government are not creating confidence with businesses or to the general public, we are all confused by the immediate decisions that are being made. Businesses are not having time to prepare to close or to reopen, there is no consultation, the Government do not understand.

The Cabinet have collective responsibility in Government, they should be utterly ashamed of how they have handled the Covid approach and the devastating impact their decisions have made on independent operators like Royal Vauxhall Tavern. This year we have been prevented from trading with forced government measures, we have lost in the region of £1million. The strategic approach to Covid and forced closure in Covid secure venues which are proven to be safe places to be and forcing people to go to meet in households in unregulated environments which are seeing the highest reported cases has devastated the hospitality sector.

The decision on Wednesday 16 December to put responsibility back to individuals over the Christmas and New Year period and how they meet families will only greatly exacerbate this situation. With New Years Eve being cancelled and forcing people out of safe, secure and regulated venues at 11pm into unregulated environments is a ruinous strategy to the hospitality sector by the Government. For the past 40 weeks, Government enforcement action has devastated our economy, now the Government has devolved decision making for Christmas and New Year to make it personal responsibility.

Pre-Covid my business was a financially viable multi million pound trading company and will be again after Covid. No financial support to support business has been mentioned by the cabinet. For the month of December my business has lost £180,000 with the Government restrictions being placed on a Covis-19 safe, secure and regulated business.

The Government continue NOT to support the hospitality sector, the derisory £1,000 offer to the hospitality sector is an embarrassing gesture which clearly shows that ministers have little understanding in how businesses, particular hospitality businesses and in particular independently owned businesses operate, they are not part of multi national companies, they have been abandoned by the Government.

My company has adopted a prudent approach to finances as do many of the hospitality sector businesses, we are a caring committed industry being treated very badly by an uncaring Government who have a targeted approach to destroy our industry not to see it survive.

The Prime Minister’s absence once again when bad news is being made to business and to the country seems to be a trait he has adopted.

Businesses and the UK public accept public health has to be paramount in stopping the number of people infected and affected by Covid-19, however, last weekend the scenes with large crowds, no social distancing in place and repeated scenes happening in Regent Street and Oxford Street and major shopping destinations in and around London and across UK major cities where shoulder to shoulder major crowds with no social distancing measures in place have flocked to shopping centres and stores do Christmas shopping.

In the commercial world, if owners of businesses made the same decisions that ministers are taking in Government, in relation to Covid implementation they would be targeted by the Health and Safety Executive where charges of corporate manslaughter would be taken against individuals and companies.

This is the reality of decisions that are taken and the Government and their consistent approach in making wrong decision together with the devastating affect their decision have on the UK public and businesses is going unchallenged. The Labour party in opposition feel comfortable in abstaining from challenging the Government and holding them to account.

Having played a major role in leading the shopping centre industry in the UK for 25 years including the design and opening of both Westfield shopping centres at White City and Stratford, as well as Trafford Centre in Manchester and Meadowhall in Sheffield, out of town and city centre major shopping destinations like the Metrocentre, Eldon Square , Merryhill, Bullring, Derby, Grand Central, Bluewater and Lakeside and many more will see in the region of 140,000 people a day in each of these destinations at this time of year going through these locations where retailers will be expecting to do 40% plus of their annual business in the run up to Christmas.

Retail has been allowed to continue to operate, schools are seeing major rises in reported cases and the Christmas relaxation period is going to have a major setback in the New Year for businesses, communities, individuals and families, yet the Government appear not to be concerned about the dangers that may happen from the collective decisions the cabinet are taking.

It should be expected that the Prime Minister and his colleagues should know the devastating impact these levels of numbers of people in small confined spaces will have a more damaging effect than closing individual bars, restaurants, theatres and entertainment venues who are Covid-19 secure and operate in a regulated environment, the same cannot be said for the unregulated shopping centre and major city centre high street environments.

The targeting of one sector will not deal with the escalation of cases and deaths from Covid where a more strategic and cohesive approach must be taken. Now is the time for collective decision making from the Prime Minister and his cabinet and to show this great country that we have a Government who do actually care, because from where I am sitting, it appears to be a dysfunctional and inept cabinet who have lost their way.

Updated company statement about the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we have temporarily closed for the foreseeable future after the UK Governments forced closure policy became effective on Friday 20 March 2020.

We’ve tried to keep the party going in order to protect the livelihoods of our fantastic team, our artists and our DJ’s, however the welfare of both our team and you, our amazing supporters, remains our primary focus and with the acceleration of COVID-19 it’s time to press pause on our community LGBTQ meeting place for now.

We’re a family here at Royal Vauxhall Tavern and it truly feels as if all that we are, all that we believe in and all we have worked for has been ripped out from underneath us. We will miss you while the country deals with this pandemic. But we’ll be back, and when that time comes we will throw you the best party in town.

We are so grateful for all the kind words and support you have shown us these last few weeks, we have been truly astonished by your level of loyalty and we cannot wait to repay you with that best party in town when we return.

Thank you for being amazing and please keep safe.

James Lindsay
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Updated company statement about the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Further to the Government’s statement on 16 March, I wanted to update you on our position that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern remains open for business and will continue to support the LGBTQ+ community. The decision has restricted my companies’ ability to trade.

Advising people to stay away from the hospitality sector and avoid unnecessary contact when a closing enforcement with business interruption compensation would be the correct strategy. Creating a mixed message for schools to be allowed to open and encouraging movement of children and people is disturbing.

I appreciate the seriousness of the epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on people’s lives and the world, however the position yesterday will have a devastating and detrimental impact on business, business recovery and job stability.

The position announced by the Government last night creates the worst position for small business, the hospitality sector and the night time economy. Boris Johnson has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contact, to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and restaurants. There is no mention of high footfall destination shopping centres, hotels and airports where movement of social contact exists.

As a small company we pay £400,000 a year to the government as our contribution of our business taxes and the government’s dismissive approach in how they have approach the hospitality industry. The recent threshold on business rates has done nothing for my company which falls outside the set government threshold. It appears that all businesses, as with Royal Vauxhall Tavern as a small independent company has no support from Government unless a government official or legal authority closes or evacuate the premises. Frances President Macron has gauged the mood of his country correctly and putting in place a strategy which supports a coherent business approach. Ireland is supporting bars, clubs and restaurants financially.

The Night Time Industries Association of which we are a member have advised not to voluntarily close the business unless we are strictly forced to do so by a competent authority. This is the position Royal Vauxhall Tavern will adopt, but we must stress, if you have an underlying medical condition then you need to stay at home.

We understand our approach will not be shared by all and we respect this may be the case, we ask you to equally respect our position. Today because of the government’s position we are having to start to consider laying staff off. I have a duty of care to all my team, as well as all the LGBT+ performers, DJs and promoters who work with us and to keep them safe and keep people in employment.

Updated company statement about the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Just to follow up on our earlier posting last week and to keep you updated.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern would like to thank the good attendance numbers last week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and cabaret on Friday have all been well attended. The weekend has been good although slower than in normal times.

The Night Time Industries Association of which we are a member contacted us yesterday and have advised us not to voluntarily close the business unless we are strictly forced to do so by a competent authority.

We continue to monitor the World Health Organisation, Government and Public Health England advice. The UK Government’s four part plan is to contain, delay, research and mitigate Coronavirus. Essentially, the Government hopes to detect early cases, slow the spread of the virus, better understand how to treat and vaccinate against it and provide good care to those who become ill.

At all stages, the Government will be guided by the medical experts and scientists, and we are told they continue to take the right action at the right time. We have to trust the decision makers with the information they are being provided with.

We have undertaken a deep clean and sanitisation programme of the public areas and we continue to promote good hygiene guidelines and encourage regular handwashing and utilising the antibacterial alcohol hand gel at the door entry point and at each of the till points on the bar. This ongoing will be a regular process.

We are advised not to close the workplace if someone with confirmed Coronavirus has entered the premises. Instead, identify who has been in contact with the individual and work with Public Health England.

It appears that all businesses, as with Royal Vauxhall Tavern being a small independent company has no support from Government unless a government official or legal authority closes or evacuate the premises.

I have a duty of care to all my team, as well as all the LGBT+ performers, DJs and promoters who work with us and to keep them safe and keep people in employment and to ensure all our financial obligations are met.

15 March 2020

A company statement about the Coronavirus

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director
Royal Vauxhall Tavern

At Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the health and safety of everyone at our venue is our priority, so we have been closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

Current NHS and Public Health England advice is that individuals are at no greater risk of contracting Coronavirus at large gatherings than they would be in their day-to-day life. Individuals only need to avoid public places if they have been advised to do so by a medical professional or by the NHS’s 111 service or have travelled to the affected areas.

Therefore at this time we have no plans to cancel or postpone any of our events or club nights.

We have however implemented a number of precautionary measures, and wanted to share some tips on how to stay healthy:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. We’ve added additional soap and alcohol-based hand gel throughout our venue, and are increasing the frequency of our deep cleaning.
  2. If you’re not feeling well during a performance, come and talk to one of our staff who can help you.
  3. In the immediate term we will be using only disposable glasses.

For further information, please consult the World Health Organisation or the Government NHS website.

We thank you for your continued support to our much loved venue.

Welfare & Vulnerability Engagement Training Programme

James Lindsay – CEO/Managing Director

On Thursday 6 March 2020 the Royal Vauxhall Tavern was the first LGBTQ venue to deliver a Welfare & Vulnerability Engagement Training Programme and I would like to express my sincere thanks to our staff and promoters who attended this worthwhile and invaluable training session delivered by Safer Business Network.

The programme covered the following key principles:

  • To prevent and reduce violent crime linked to the licensed economy
  • To prevent and reduce sexual offences
  • To reduce preventable injury linked to alcohol and drug use
  • To reduce opportunities for criminal activity and anti-social behaviour

The RVT Code of Conduct Manifesto and the Incident Escalation Process is now in place.